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Chancellor response to state audit (June)

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks today (24, June 2014) issued this statement:

To The Berkeley Campus Community,

The California State Auditor has now completed and released its review of sexual harassment and sexual violence policies and processes at selected CSU and UC campuses, including Berkeley. I welcome the report’s findings and recommendations, and I want to thank those involved for their hard work and diligence. I believe that this audit will only help us advance on our shared and unequivocal commitment to do what is necessary to create and sustain a caring culture of prevention and reporting on our campus, and to hold members of our community accountable for violating the university’s sexual harassment and sexual violence policies.

Although the Auditor has identified areas where Berkeley needs to improve, I am encouraged by the reviewers’ conclusion that the manner in which the Berkeley campus resolves complaints of sexual harassment or sexual violence, and the manner in which we sanction those found culpable is, in fact, reasonable. This important area has been the subject of extensive debate and discussion, and the report’s findings will allow all of us who are concerned about and involved in these issues to proceed with reforms based on the facts presented by the Auditor’s objective and independent review. I also welcome the report’s acknowledgement that Berkeley has strengthened and improved its policies and practices, and its conclusion that our campus police department has acted appropriately when students reported sexual misconduct.

As described in my previous messages, we have already taken a significant number of steps to improve the support we provide to survivors; enhance our educational and informational resources and increased the number of investigative and support staff. Yet, our work is clearly not done, and I want to make it clear that we can and must go beyond what is already in place or in progress.

Working in concert with the Office of the President, we will examine ways to enhance and improve our training and educational programs for students, faculty and staff. We will also explore ways to make sure that every student completes required training; proceed with our plans to fill the new position of Confidential Survivor Advocate; create a public awareness campaign and find ways to ensure that complainants and respondents alike receive adequate, timely information about conduct procedures and the status of cases.

I look forward to working with the Berkeley campus community as we strive to address these complicated challenges. I am convinced that if we continue to openly communicate and work together in good faith, we can create a culture where prevention, reporting and accountability create a safe and respectful campus for all.